A Moving Guide to The Portland Metro Area

Moving Companies

Many have been victims of unregulated rogue movers operating coast-to-coast who advertise their van lines on the Web, charge two to three times what they promise and hold your goods captive until you pay. And because the federal Interstate Commerce Commission was abolished a few years ago, the rogue companies have been getting away with it.

The feds don't have the staffing and the state doesn't have the authority or jurisdiction to help the victims get their money back or punish rogue movers. Oregon's consumer protection spokeswoman, Jan Margosian, said her office has received numerous complaints about rogue movers, but the state doesn't have jurisdiction over state-to-state moves.

Here are three websites that may be helpful when planning a move:

  • 11 Best Movers in Portland, Oregon.  This is a Consumer Affairs Website.  Are you planning a move to Portland?  Be sure to find a trustworthy moving company. The best movers in Portland offer a full-service experience that’s convenient and affordable. Consumer Affairs has created a list of local movers to make your search as easy as possible.
  • Protect Your Move This is a US Department of Transportation Web site. You can learn red flags for spotting rogue movers and how to choose a reputable mover. The site has a section about "knowing your rights when hiring a mover."
  • Moving Scam At the core of the website are message boards staffed around the clock by experienced volunteers who answer moving-related questions promptly and at no cost to the consumer. None of the volunteers receive any income from this activity. The site does officially endorse some moving companies and the "endorsement is based on the positive experiences of many consumers who have used them."
  • Moving Cost Calculator  The tool offers a really simple comparison of moving and relocation options available.

Change of Address

The United States Postal Service will forward first class mail to your new address for 12 months 60 days for second class mail without charge. Complete a Change of Address Order Form at the postal service website. You will then need to sign the form and either give it to your letter carrier or mail it to your local post office. You can also change your address online and the USPS will forward your mail to your new address.

  • The US Postal Service  The USPS website has developed an online source of help for movers. It covers everything from motor vehicles to voter registration.
  • Visit your local post office and pick up PS Form 3576's (a.k.a. change of address notification postcards).

Register to Vote Online

Oregonians can register to vote online as of March 1, 2010. Oregon is the fourth state in the nation to offer voters an electronic path to the polls.

The online registration system, which cost the state about $200,000 to set up, is cheaper, more secure and more accurate way to reach more voters, particularly the housebound, elderly and out-of-state members of the military, according to the Oregon Secretary of State office.

The state estimates about 77 percent of eligible voters are registered, leaving about 600,000 still unregistered. Minnesota and Maine have the highest registration rate in the nation at 80 percent.

You will be required to have a valid Oregon driver's license, permit or identification card. For those who register online, the signatures on their driver's licenses, permits or ID cards will serve as the signatures for voter registration cards. Those signatures will be checked to validate mail ballots in elections. Voters also can go to the online site to change political parties or addresses.

Oregonians can register online by going to the  website: www.oregonvotes.org.

Automatic Voter Registration 

In 2016 Oregon became the first-in-the-nation state to automatically register all eligible Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card.

Those who are registered through the new process will be notified by mail and will be given three weeks to take themselves off the voting rolls. If they do not opt out, the secretary of state’s office will mail them a ballot automatically 20 days before any election.

Emergency Alert System

Sign up for emergency alert system. People can sign up for the system by going to PublicAlerts.org and putting in their address, email, and cell or home phone numbers. Then, for example, if a local company accidentally releases chemicals or there’s a boil-water warning, people will be informed.

Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles

If your vehicle is subject to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) inspection program, you can renew your registration at the DEQ after your vehicle passes the required tests, or you can renew online at the Oregon DMV.

Drivers License Change of Address If your address changes, you must notify DMV within 30 days of the change. You may complete an address change form and mail it to DMV. DMV will mail you an address change sticker to put onto your driver license, instruction permit or identification card.

Advanced Directives

Oregon, the Health Care Decisions Act (ORS 127.505 - 127.660 and ORS 127.995) allows an individual to preauthorize health care representatives to allow the natural dying process if he or she is medically confirmed to be in one of the conditions described in his or her health care instructions. This act does not authorize euthanasia, assisted suicide, or any overt action to end the person's life. The advance directive form is available online and from health care institutions.

The National POLST Paradigm – which stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment – is an approach to end-of-life planning based on conversations between patients, loved ones, and healthcare professionals designed to ensure that seriously ill or frail patients can choose the treatments they want or do not want and that their wishes are documented and honored.

Portland Utility Companies

Below are the major utility companies in the Portland metro area. You can also download a complete list of the metro area utility companies by clicking here. The list has the providers along with their local phone numbers.

  • Comcast Cable  TV, internet, and telephone for most of the Portland area.
  • DISH Satellite TV and Internet Service   The site compares DISH network's package options. It contains pricing and channel information, and it reviews DISH network products.
  • City of Portland Water Bureau  The Water Bureau is a rate-financed, City-owned utility. Water rates are established each year to assure adequate revenues for water system support. Call (503) 823-7770 to open and close accounts when you move. If you are a new customer, ask for a welcome packet that has information about water, sewer and stormwater charges and services. Be prepared for a shock when you get your first bill as a typical Portland resident pays $215 every three months for tap water, toilet flushes and a share of managing the stormwater that spews sewage into the Willamette River after a hard rain. Portland's sewer and stormwater rates are among the most expensive in the country. A 2007 survey by Black & Veatch put Portland No. 1 on the list, followed by Redmond, Washington, and Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Verizon  Verizon offers mobile, TV, internet, and landline telephone services.
  • Metro Recycling and Garbage  Locate your hauler and obtain information about recycling. That stuff you’re parting with might not be trash. Search the directory for easy options to recycle, donate or reuse anything from batteries and packing peanuts to that old dishwasher.
  • National Association of Regulatory Commissions  Links to most states utility commissions - usually the state has links to the local utilities that they regulate.
  • Northwest Natural  Natural gas supplier. Address: 220 NW 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97209-3943. Telephone: (503) 226-4211. Contact NW Natural by e-mail
  • PacificCorp  To contact a customer service representative at Utah Power or Pacific Power, call toll-free at 1-888-221-7070.
  • Portland General Electric (PGE)  Electrical utility that services most of the Portland area. 
  • Tualatin Valley Water District  Serves Washington County. The service area is 45+ square miles located west of Portland in east Washington County, encompassing such communities as Cedar Hills, Oak Hills, Terra Linda, Cedar Mill, Reedville, Rock Creek, Cooper Mountain, The Bluffs, Progress, Metzger, Bonny Slope, Aloha, Orenco. The service area also includes portions of the cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard and Portland.
  • CenturyLink  Carrier that provides local service for Western and Midwestern states. CenturyLink is the local provider of home telephone service as well as TV and internet for most of Oregon including homes in the City of Portland.

Garbage and Recycling for the City of Portland

Residential garbage and recycling service in Portland is provided by franchised garbage and recycling companies, each of which is assigned specific service areas. To determine your hauler visit Portland Maps and click on the 'Garbage/Recycling' icon at the top of the page. You can visit the links at this page for a good summary of what goes in and what does go in the containers. Rates for residential service are set by the City of Portland.

You can also find your hauler at Metro Recycling and Garbage. That stuff you’re parting with might not be trash. Search the directory for easy options to recycle, donate or reuse anything from batteries and packing peanuts to that old dishwasher.

Here are the containers you will be furnished with by your hauler:

  • Compost: A green 65-gallon container that is picked up every week. This is for yard debris and food waste (see below).
  • Recycle: A blue 65-gallon container that is picked up every week. This is for paper, newsprint, cardboard, metals, and certain kinds of plastic, etc.
  • Garbage: A black or brown 35-gallon container that is picked up every other week. This is for objects that will end up in a landfill.
  • Food Waste: A container that is used in the home for good waste. Food waste means all food, including meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, bread, fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggshells, rice, beans, pasta, coffee grounds and filters, tea bags, bones and other plate scrapings. Food Scraps does not include liquids or large amounts of grease or oil. You empty the pail into the green container.
  • Glass: A yellow bin for glass that is picked up every other week. Many homeowners use their own 5-gallon pail instead of the yellow bin to conserve space.

All the above containers are furnished by the haulers. You can upgrade your 35-gallon garbage container to a 55-gallon or 85-gallon container but it will cost more (About $7 a month per container).

To read the 60 plus page document covering the administrative rules visit the City of Portland Sustainability website. To view the rules for suburban cities in the Portland metro area visit the Metro website.

Portland is the only major city in the country to switch to biweekly garbage pickup because they want more space for composting, for weekly pickups of food scraps intended for an inspiring afterlife as fertilizer. The city is getting a lot of grief about this policy that was adopted in late 2011. David Sarasohn, a writer for The Oregonian had this to say about the rules in one of his early 2012 column, "Like many people absorbed by good literature, I spend a lot of time these days reading my garbage bill. It's a livelier, more crowded piece of writing than it used to be, and I never have to worry about having something to read: Although the garbage truck now shows up only half as often, the bill still arrives on the old reliable schedule." The article is humorous but he 'sticks it to the city' in a funny but biting way. Read other articles by David Sarasohn.

Electronic Recycling

Oregon and Washington's free electronic recycling programs started in January 2009, with the two states collecting nearly 5 million pounds of televisions, computers, and monitors.

Internet Service Providers (ISP) and TV

A provider comparison tool that allows residents to search for package options in their area, sorted by providers. It also offers customer reviews. Here is the link: www.cabletv.com/or/portland.

  • Search for ISPs by Address   Each option – fiber optic, broadband DSL, dial-up, satellite, or cable – brings the internet into your home through a different method.
  • Search for ISPs by Zip Code  Compare high-speed Internet prices, features, and speeds by a Zip Code search.
  • The Director  Lists 13,000 ISPs. Key in your telephone area code and you'll get a list of ISPs servicing the area code.
  • Comcast  Comcast offers  internet service along with their cable TV and telephone service.
  • CenturyLink  CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) offers a number of options for internet connection including high speed DSL (Digital Subscriber Line).
  • DirecTV  Internet, TV and telephone packages. DirecTV is an AT&T partner.
  • Frontier   Frontier claims to be capable of download speeds up to 24Mbps on the internet.
  • HughesNet  Access the internet via satellite.
  • Verizon  Besides telephone mobile services, Verizon also offers internet services.


  • The Oregonian  Largest daily in the state. It changed to 'tabloid' style in 2014 and only delivers to homes on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.                   
  • Portland Mercury  Free print paper as an alternative weekly. It serves to chronicle the Portland music scene, politics, film, and arts, plus movie times, and club calendars. Distributed in retail outlets.
  • Portland Tribune  Free print paper distributed in cafes and retail outlets  on Wednesdays − their website is usually updated daily. "News with an edge" is their description of the paper.
  • New York Times  Delivered to your doorstep in Portland.
  • Wall Street Journal  Delivered to your doorstep in Portland.
  • Willamette Weekly  Weekly paper free at stands located throughout the metro area.

Telephone Solicitors - Consumer Complaints

Do Not Call Registry  The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. if they do, you can file a complaint at their website. you can register your home or mobile phone for free. telephone numbers placed on the national do not call registry will remain on it permanently due to the do-not-call improvement act of 2007, which became law in February 2008 so your registration will not expire once it is entered into the system.

Online Complaints Database

The Oregon attorney general's office has put its complaints database online, meaning consumers can better research companies before deciding where to take their business. Consumers without Internet access may call the agency at 1-877-877-9392.

Entries on the database, which contains complaints received since January 1, 2008, do not include consumers' names and offer limited information, such as a company's address, the general category of the complaint and whether it was resolved.

Repairs and Remodeling

Finding a reliable and competent craftsman, plumber, electrician, etc. is always challenging for newcomers as well as natives. My colleagues and I have built a list of over 50 organizations and individuals who have satisfied many of our clients with their work. If you become my client, I help you find a person or organization to provide such services.